- This article is about the recurring character. For the recurring location in the Legend of Zelda series, see Lake Hylia.
- "He who seeks the sacred flames, listen well, for I am the one guiding you from my place at the edge of time."
- — One of Hylia's messages to Link relayed by Fi
Hylia (ハイリア Hairia?, ), also known as Her Grace or Goddess Hylia, is recurring character in the Legend of Zelda series. Her name seems to be the linguistic origin of the Hylian race's name. Hylia is worshiped in Skyloft and Hyrule.
As told in legend, after the Golden Goddesses were finished creating Hyrule, they left the Triforce in Hylia's care when they departed from the world. One day, a crack opened up in the earth and the Demon King Demise, along with his demonic hordes, came forth from the fissure. Wanting to make the world his own, Demise and his monsters attacked The Surface to steal the Triforce. In order to prevent the great power from falling into the hands of Demise, Hylia gathered the surviving Hylians on a piece of land, entrusted them with the Triforce, and sent them to the heavens. To further ensure their safety, Hylia created a cloud barrier to separate the two places.
With the Hylians in a safe place, she united the Ancient Robots, the Gorons, the Kikwis, the Mogmas, and the Parella to battle Demise's forces. A great war erupted, with both sides suffering severe casualties. Ultimately, Hylia was able to seal away the Demon King within the Sealed Grounds, though was mortally wounded in the process. Understanding that the seal would eventually be broken if nothing were to be done, Hylia created a contingency plan.
Hylia had the Goddess Sword created and stored within the Statue of the Goddess. With her death nearing, Hylia made it so that she would to be reborn among the residents of Skyloft. To insure her own safety as a Hylian, Hylia entrusted Impa of the Sheikah Tribe with the task of protecting her future incarnation. She also left several messages for the one who would one day become her chosen hero so as to guide him from the edge of time in his quest. Along with these messages, she also created trials to test and improve the hero's power, wisdom, and courage. By completing each trial, the hero would receive a gift left by Hylia, which would help the hero find the purifying Sacred Flames. Bathing the sword in all three flames transformed the Goddess Sword into the legendary Blade of Evil's Bane, the Master Sword. However the Master Sword's true power could only be awakened by Hylia's reincarnation.
In order for the hero to reach these trials, Hylia left the Isle of Songs. The isle housed three melodies that would open the way to the trials, with each melody being played by the hero using the Goddess's Harp. To ensure the Triforce didn't fall in the wrong hands, Hylia hid the sacred relic on Skyloft, within the Sky Keep, with the location kept a secret by others for many years. Before her passing and reincarnation, Hylia chose to appoint Faron, Eldin, Lanayru, and Levias to protect the woods, the mountains, the desert and the sky, respectively. Each of the guardians were entrusted with a part of the "Song of the Hero", a melody they were instructed to teach to the chosen hero which would then lead to the last trial and the Triforce itself.
In order to aid the Hero on his journey, she is said to have left behind various objects and items such as Goddess Cubes, Goddess Chests, and Goddess Walls. She also left behind the Goddess Crests that Link activates throughout his quest, as well as the Three Sacred Gifts obtained by completing the Trials in the Silent Realm. Also rare Materials called Goddess Plumes are said to have been left behind by Hylia during her lifetime. Goddess Plumes are one of the used to materials required to create the Sacred Bow, Tough Beetle, and Large Quiver. Hylia is also featured on the Goddess Shield, though the shield is created by Gondo when upgrading a Divine Shield and not by Hylia herself.
- "I had a dream last night... In a place consumed by darkness, a lone woman gazed at me, haloed by blinding light. I sensed she was...not of this world. I don't know if she was a fairy or a goddess, but she was beautiful. Her lips spoke urgently, but her voice did not reach me. Would I have heard her if my power was awoken? Or was my dream simply a manifestation of my fears? I am sure I will know the answer soon, whether I wish to or not..."
- — Zelda's Diary
The goddess Hylia is mentioned in Shrines, having blessed the Sheikah Monks that dwell within them with the ability to give Link Spirit Orbs, and to help him fight Calamity Ganon. Hylia's Goddess Statues can also be found throughout Hyrule. Link can pray to them to trade four Spirit Orbs for either a Heart Container or a Stamina Vessel. If he prays to the Goddess Statue inside the Temple of Time before completing any of the Shrines in the Great Plateau, he will receive a message that Hylia is smiling on him through the statue. One of the loading screen tips for Hylia's Goddess Statues reveals that she has been worshiped in Hyrule since time immemorial.
- "Ahhh... So there are some who still pay me homage. What were you praying for? Long life? Wealth, like so many of your kind? Whichever it was, you came to the right place. A dealer in life and power... That was me, once. Alas my life-for-money bargains didn't sit well with the Goddess Hylia. She trapped me in this stone statue long, long ago. The villagers here call me the Horned Statue and don't even bother to wipe away the bird droppings. One would think years upon years of such treatment would have made me mend my ways... One would think wrongly. I have only been biding my time for the moment someone who can hear me appears. Someone such as you. But I've said enough. Now then, shall we strike a bargain?"
- — Horned Statue upon meeting Link
The Horned Statue was once a Demon that in ancient times long forgotten made faustian bargains with those that worshipped it causing Hylia to seal it in a Horned Goddess Statue at Firly Pond as punishment though even after untold centuries of neglect and being covered in bird droppings the demon remains unrepentant just waiting for someone to come along capable of hearing it speak so it can strike a bargain with them. Link encounters the statue during "The Statue's Bargain" when he mistakenly prays to it assuming it is a normal Goddess Statue. The statue assumes Link is paying homage it and is surprised Link can hear it. It explains its history with Hylia before taking one of Link's Essences (Heart Container or Stamina Vessel). When Link demands its return the unrepentant Demon explains it only seeks to develop a business relationship before explaining how it can trade essences allowing Link to sell an Essences to it then buy the essence of his choice thus allowing him to exchange Heart Containers for Stamina Vessels and vice versa effectively allowing him to change his mind about how he invested his Spirit Orbs.
Through the Goddess Statues in the Spring of Wisdom, Spring of Courage, and Spring of Power, a disembodied voice (implied to be Hylia) guides Link in locating the hidden Shrines nearby. The Goddess Statue in the Spring of Wisdom also guides Link in freeing Naydra from the corruptive influence of Calamity Ganon's Malice. A century before the events of Breath of the Wild, Princess Zelda journeyed to these shrines to purify herself and pray to Hylia to awaken her divine powers. However, Princess Zelda had trouble fully awakening her powers. In Zelda's Diary, Zelda mentions having a dream about a place consumed by darkness where she encounters a lone woman haloed by a blinding light. Though Zelda herself was unsure as to whether the woman was a fairy or goddess, it is implied that she may have suspected that the woman was in fact Hylia, as Zelda had been praying to her and even wondered if she might have heard the woman in her dream had she awakened her powers by that point. However Zelda was unsure if the dream was a vision or simply a manifestation of her fears.
It is possible that as a result of Zelda being Hylia's reincarnation, some of Hylia's power was passed onto her descendants. These descendants may be the Royal Family of Hyrule, which could serve as an explanation for their mystical powers and their roles as protectors of the Triforce. It should be noted, however, that the powers of the Royal Family are hinted in The Minish Cap to come from the Light Force, a sacred power granted from the Minish, though it is unclear if Zelda reacquired the Light Force after it was drained from her by Vaati and the Light Force is only mentioned in a single title and may be more associated with Zelda's affinity towards the element of Light.
In Breath of the Wild, it is stated that Princesses of Hyrule must purify and pray to Hylia at the Springs of Power, Wisdom, and Courage to awaken a sacred power passed down through lineage. This power is stated to be divine in origin, hinting that it came from Hylia. Zelda's powers awoke after she selflessly put herself in danger to protect Link; these powers may require the Princess to possess or develop a certain kind of character to awaken them properly.
In Breath of the Wild, Kass refers to Zelda as the "Goddess-blood Princess", strongly implying that Princess Zelda's various incarnations and the Royal Family of Hyrule are descended from Hylia's mortal incarnation. It is also stated in the Hyrule Compendium entry for the White Horse that the Royal Family of Hyrule rule the kingdom by divine right.
If the Royal Family are the descendants of the incarnation of Zelda from Skyward Sword, the concept for it may be based off the Shinto sun goddess, Amaterasu, who is stated in Japanese legend to be the ancestor of the Japanese Imperial Family.